The Malta Miracle: Father Christmas comes in June

During a press conference in Valletta today, Alternattiva Demokratika Chairperson, Prof. Arnold Cassola, said: “Whoever becomes Prime Minister, as from next June it is going to be a bonanza for the Maltese people. Joseph Muscat has promised: gradual tax refunds for 190,000 people earning as much as €60,000. Tax on part-time work will be reduced from 15 per cent to 10 per cent. This will also apply to the self-employed. Small businesses with income of up to €20,000 could benefit from a VAT exemption, up from the current €14,000 threshold. The Micro-invest programme would be raised to maximum assistance of €50,000 per company, and €70,000 in Gozo. Exam fees would be removed for all students.”

“A tax rebate will be given to those who voluntarily take out health insurance. The €14,000 tax credit offered to those pharmacies delivering the free medicines to cover their expenses would be extended. PL promise that the tax exemption for those who send their children to private childcare centres will rise to €4,000. The tax deduction to employers who offer childcare facilities will rise to €50,000. The PL is promising employers who invest in facilities for teleworking will be offered a €30,000 tax rebate on their capital expenditure. The PL is promising farmers and fishermen that they will not pay any income tax if the Labour Party is returned to government. The government would be exempting the elderly from the 15% withholding tax on bank deposits for interests up to €1,000. In a bid to help families plan for their future, it would also provide parents with a tax credit of up to €2,000 a year to incentivise them to start planning for their unborn children’s pension plan.”

“It goes on and on. A new Labour government would also cater for people who were separated or divorced but still paying a grant to the other party for these not to be taxed as a single person. Maltese businesses which relocate their operations to Gozo will be exempt from paying tax for three years, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat promised. Parents of Gozitan students studying at the University of Malta will get up to 5000 Euros tax credits to cover rent expenses. Then there are the huge expenses promised on all kinds of roads, flyovers and undersea tunnels.”

AD candidate Ralph Cassar stated that “Not to be undone in this rat race to the bottom, Simon Busuttil has promised that a PN government would subsidise the interest paid on home loans. This would be done through a scheme of tax credits given pro-rata according to a couple’s income. The PN would retain an incentive for first-time buyers introduced by this government exempting them from tax on their first property up to the first €150,000. It would also extend this measure to divorced or separated couples. Those ready to rent their properties to people on the social housing waiting list would not be taxed on their rental income after entering into a 10-year fixed rental agreement. A new Nationalist government would exempt all pensions from income tax. The PN will waive all property stamp duty for first time buyers in Gozo. The PN will give a €10,000 grant for young Gozitan families who remain or relocate back to Gozo. For businesses opening in Gozo, the PN is proposing an income tax exemption of up to €200,000 over a three-year period, and a €25,000 grant start-up grant and a €75,000 guarantee.”

“Those already on the sister island will benefit from a 25 per cent tax credit if they invest in better facilities. The PN will provide up to €25,000 as a start-up grant to those who decide to open a new business or commercial activity in Gozo. The PN will reimburse the employers’ contribution of the national insurance to Gozo based start-up businesses during the first two years of their operation.

Between the beginning of November and end of February the PN will refund the social security paid for employees and the MTA license fee in the tourism sector in order to compensate for the problem of seasonality. The PN will offer tax rebates for parents of Gozitan students attending educational institutions in Malta. The PN has proposed maximum 10% income tax rate for those earning less than €20,000. The Nationalist government would reduce income tax on part-time work to 10 per cent. The PN promised that businesses would also get full tax exemption, helping create new economic sectors. Tax up to €40,000 a year up to a three -year period would get exempted. People receiving IVF treatment will be given related medicines free-of-charge by a PN government. The PN was offering tax cuts and incentives for employers who offer facilities where people can exercise, or related schemes such as gym membership. Not to mention the billions upon billions promised on roads, flyovers, undersea tunnels and what not. Again it goes on and on.”

Prof. Cassola said: “With their irresponsible proposals of tax reductions in all areas, Joseph Muscat and Simon Busuttil are really running the risk of bankrupting our country. At this rate, however, the whole Maltese country can rejoice at establishing a new world record: whoever wins the election this week-end, Father Christmas will be coming to Malta early. On the 4th of June, the whole of Malta will wake up singing to the tune of “Jingle Bells”.”

Ralph Cassar concluded: “If we exclude all those who are evading taxes in Panama, Switzerland or the Virgin Islands, if we exclude all those who PN and PL propose to exclude from paying any taxes, who in this country of ours is going to pay any taxes? The truth is that our public services depend on taxation. Where will funds for better schools come from? Where will funds for investment in the latest advances in health care come from? What about funds for culture and the arts? Or for the conversion to clean energy and new mass transportation systems? What about better care for the elderly and mental health services? What about social housing and government intervention in the rental market? A discussion on taxation and the structure of the tax system is necessary, it should be geared towards more social justice and a cohesive community. Shooting proposals left, right and centre to please everyone is irresponsible. PL and PN are endangering the provision of good public services through their Father Christmas politics.”